Lt. Col. Harold W. Bauer
United States Marine Corps (USMC), VMF-212 F4F Wilcat Pilot
Harold William Bauer was born on November 20, 1908 in Woodruff, Kansas and grew up in North Platte, Nebraska. In 1926 entered the United States Naval Academy (USNA) and assigned to the U. S. Marine Corps as a 2nd Lieutenant when he graduated in 1930.
On March 1, 1942 became the Commanding Officer (C. O.) of Marine Fighting Squadron 212 (VMF-212).
On November 14, 1942 took off from Henderson Field piloting F4F Wilcat 03454 and went Missing In Action (MIA). Postumously, he earned the Medal of Honor for his role flying combat missions between November 10-14, 1942.
Posthumous Medal of Honor Citation (July 23, 1944)
"For extraordinary heroism and conspicuous courage as Squadron Commander of Marine Fighting Squadron two twelve in the South Pacific Area during the period May 10 to November 14, 1942. Volunteering to pilot a fighter plane in defense of our positions on Guadalcanal, Solomon Islands, Lieutenant Colonel Bauer participated in two air battles against enemy bombers and fighters outnumbering our force more than two-to-one, boldly engaged the enemy and destroyed one Japanese bomber in the engagement of September 28 and shot down four enemy fighter planes in flames on October 3 leaving a fifth smoking badly. After successfully leading twenty-six planes in the over-water ferry flight of more than six hundred miles on October 16, Lieutenant Colonel Bauer, while circling to land, sighted a squadron of enemy planes attacking the USS McFarland. Undaunted by the formidable opposition and with valor above and beyond the call of duty, he engaged the entire squadron and, although alone and his fuel supply nearly exhausted, fought his plane so brilliantly that four of the Japanese planes were destroyed before he was forced down by lack of fuel. His intrepid fighting spirit and distinctive ability as leader and an airman, exemplified in his splendid record of combat achievement, were vital in the successful operations in the South Pacific Area."
Bauer was officially declared dead on January 8, 1946. He earned the Medal of Honor and Purple Heart, posthumously. He is memorialized on the tablets of the missing at Manila American Cemetery. Afterwards, Port Vila Airport (Via Airfield) on Efaté Island in New Hebrides (Vanuatu) was renamed Bauer Field in honor of Lt. Col. Harold W. Bauer.
Navy Serial Number Search Results - F4F-4 Wildcat 03454
AAIR USN Overseas Aircraft Loss List November 1942 F4F Wildcat 03454 VMF-212 Lt. Col Bauer MIA
American Battle Monuments Commission (ABMC) - Harold William Bauer
FindAGrave - LTC Harold William Bauer (photo, tablets of the missing photo)
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